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Summer solstice spiritual meaning: What does the summer solstice mean in astrology? – Express.co.uk

June 20 marks the summer solstice for 2020, but astrologers believe it marks something more special. As the season changes and summer officially begins, astrologers predict new beginnings. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, the Sun will be at its most powerful today, according to believers of astrology.

This is because it is the longest day of the year, so naturally we will be able to reap the rewards of our host star.

According to website Forever Conscious, this means astrologers will be able to heal by harnessing the power of the Sun.

Forever Conscious said: "As the Sun reaches this special marker in the cosmic skies, the ancients believed that the veil between this world and the next grew thinner.

"They also believed that the spirits of nature were more active and more willing to make themselves known.

"In the Northern Hemisphere, where we are experiencing the longest day of the year and the official start of Summer, it is a time to celebrate the abundance of nature, and all that is on offer to us.

"Under the light of the radiant Sun, we are called to express ourselves in an outward fashion and to receive the incredible offerings being sent our way by the Universe.

"The Summer Solstice is considered a time where the Sun is at its strongest and most powerful.

"It is a time where we can really harness its energy and use it to revitalise our body, mind, and soul."

READ MORE:Daily horoscope for June 20: YOUR zodiac and astrology forecast

According to Time and Date, the solstice will officially start at 22.41pm BST, when the Sun has fully set, meaning day light lasts for 16 hours and 38 minutes on June 20.

This will continue through until the early morning of June 21 when the Sun rises at 05.43 BST.

Time And Date said: "The summer solstice is the longest day of the year. Solstices are opposite on either side of the equator, so the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere is the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, and vice versa.

DON'T MISSSummer Solstice 2020: When is the longest day of the year in the UK?Stonehenge breakthrough: How very rare' find changed view on monumentBritish Summer Time: When does BST start?

"'Solstice' (Latin: 'solstitium') means 'sun-stopping', because the point where the sun appears to rise and set, stops and reverses direction after this day

"The first day of spring, summer, fall and winter can either be defined using astronomical events like solstices and equinoxes, or they can be determined based on meteorological factors, such as average temperatures.

"Over the centuries, the June solstice has inspired countless festivals, midsummer celebrations and religious holidays."

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Summer solstice spiritual meaning: What does the summer solstice mean in astrology? - Express.co.uk

Testing faith: Spirituality in the face of tragedy and COVID-19 in Nova Scotia – TheChronicleHerald.ca

NEW MINAS, N.S.

Theres no question that faith and spirituality are tested through lifes trials and tribulations.

Whether or not people are inclined to participate in organized religion, the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and recent tragedies in Nova Scotia have impacted people on an emotional, if not spiritual, level.

Daniel Cormier, senior pastor at the New Minas Baptist Church, said he believes that God gives us faith and tests it.

Hes looking to refine and hopefully do a work in us but the testing is not always pleasant, Cormier said.

He said Nova Scotia has been rocked recently by many tragic circumstances, including a mass shooting, a fatal military helicopter crash and economic fallout that has affected everyone during the overarching COVID-19 pandemic.

Generally speaking, weve been tested for sure, Cormier said.

The New Minas Baptist Church is currently holding services online. Cormier said not being able to physically congregate has had an impact on members of the church family, which includes a wide demographic.

This is perhaps more pronounced for congregation members who are single and have been isolated to a greater degree during the pandemic.

Weve had to be especially strategic, keeping within the health restrictions, to let them know that theyre not alone, Cormier said.

He believes that God created us for relationships, so when we cant be close or cant be together, mental wellness if affected. There is a lot of fallout from this that can be very challenging.

On the other hand, having weathered such storms, peoples faith and spirituality can be strengthened as a result.

Cormier said he has heard many stories of people arriving at a greater realization of what is truly important in their lives, rediscovering themselves as lifes pace slowed and they got to spend more time with children or a spouse, for example.

In spite of all the bad, there is the good in the sense that it boils it down to what really is important, Cormier said. A lot of people are so increasingly busy that relationships were probably suffering because we were overworked or overstressed and just overextended.

John Andrew, an ordained minister and executive director of the Open Arms Resource Centre Society, said he isnt sure where the dividing line falls between spirituality and emotional well-being but even their leadership team felt the impact of not being able to connect as they normally would during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the clutter and clamour of our busyness and responsibilities, the fact that life was halted longer than we were comfortable with led to a greater sense of self-understanding for many.

Some rediscovered the importance of family or reintroduced exercise to their lives, for example. Andrew said he now has a greater sense of routine or regularity surrounding his own spiritual practice than before.

Like many people, he lost a loved one, his grandmother, during this time. Andrew said he found this particularly challenging because he didnt have the normal rituals, mechanisms and social supports to work through it. On the other hand, because of the quiet, he was able to say goodbye in ways that were perhaps deeper.

In a strange way, for many of us, its almost like we needed this, Andrew said.

He doesnt think weve seen the last of COVID-19, unfortunately, but many in the community have demonstrated compassion and resiliency throughout the pandemic. He hopes we have all learned or gained something through the experience.

At a time when the province was impacted economically, Nova Scotia experienced a mass shooting and a fatal military helicopter crash. On a cross-country tour, one of Canadas greatest symbols of hope, the Snowbirds, experienced a terrible tragedy.

It just seemed like we couldnt win for a while, Andrew said. When those things happen and discouragement sort of hovers above us, what do we have, what really matters? I feel like I can answer that better, and I hope others can, than I could have three months ago.

Meet Our Volunteers (The Covid Chronicles) Even though Open Arms is closed to the public we still have dedicated...

Early in the pandemic, Open Arms established a food support program called Neighbour to Neighbour in Kings and Annapolis counties. When people registered, they were asked if theyd also like a wellness call.

Andrew said most of the 250 to 300 households theyve assisted through the program wanted such a call, some requesting prayer time, for example.

He said some of the functions of Open Arms are similar to a church community. Although not everyone they help wants to connect on a faith level, theyve noticed that many who would not normally attend a recovery group, Bible study or worship service outright requested emotional and spiritual supports.

In terms of need, they are currently noticing a split between clients who are already known to them and people who are self-isolating due to health issues or are out of work. He said mature, single individuals seem particularly hard-hit.

Obviously its been a rough time for many people and in many ways but there is a beauty in that, Andrew said. Suddenly, people are reaching beyond their normal circles and safe places.

As restrictions surrounding COVID-19 begin to relax, Cormier said people are presented with an opportunity to press lifes reset button or to re-prioritize, focusing more on what matters to them and less on what doesnt.

One thing that concerns him as a pastor is that as individuals discover truths about themselves or embark on journeys of self-rediscovery, there is the danger of placing too many expectations on ourselves.

We may see a lot of things that we want to do course corrections on and then we can feel a sense of failure for not meeting those, Cormier said. Take one or two and focus on those that you can do.

These may include deciding not to overload our calendars or setting time aside for children or significant others. Taking on too much can lead to the burden of unmet self-expectations. With the duress of ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, its important for people to be patient with themselves and take things one step at a time.

Simplification was a good thing that I think has happened, but keep it that way, Cormier said, pointing out the tendency of people to try to take on more than they can easily handle.

kirk.starratt@kingscountynews.ca

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Testing faith: Spirituality in the face of tragedy and COVID-19 in Nova Scotia - TheChronicleHerald.ca

Finding spiritual light in a lonely place – The Daily Universe – Universe.byu.edu

LONDON When it came time for Aurimas imonlis to attend university, he wanted to study somewhere bigger and more diverse than his little Lithuanian hometown.

He wanted to expand his cultural and intellectual horizons, but did not anticipate the spiritual growth he would undergo after moving to London.

For a while, Aurimas struggled to adapt to the new environment. Though he loved the many cultures and opportunities he found in London, he quickly realized how lonely the city could be. With so many people and so many cultures, it seems like its easy to make friends, he said, but actually, cultural barriers can make it really difficult. Its easy to feel so alone.

As he pressed on through his first year of school, he continued searching for meaning amid his feelings of loneliness. One sunny summer day, Aurimas was enjoying a walk at the park when he met two young men in white shirts and ties. They greeted him and began speaking with him about their purpose as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

As they spoke, Aurimas was impressed with their willingness to give up two years of their lives to preach what they believed. I was interested in their message because I had never really had religious beliefs, and meeting people my age with such strong beliefs was so different, he said.

This meeting set him on the path to discovering an even greater purpose for his move to London.

Aurimas began meeting with the missionaries weekly. He loved reading the stories in The Book of Mormon and felt uplifted by the experiences of the people therein. The missionaries encouraged Aurimas to get down on his knees and ask God to know if The Book of Mormon and the Church were true.

I had never really prayed before, and I felt a little weird about it at first, he said. But when I did it, I was surprised at how good I felt. After the first time, I began praying every morning and night because I loved how it felt.

For two weeks, he prayed at least twice a day to know if the Church was true. It felt so right that I knew it wasnt just a temporal thing. I knew the feelings were coming from God.

After receiving that sure witness from the Holy Ghost, he decided to be baptized and become a member of the Church.

Aurimas testified that many blessings in his life have come from that decision, especially the presence of the Holy Ghost guiding him through daily prayer. Before I began praying regularly, I had to rely on my own thoughts to determine right from wrong, he said. But now, talking to my Father in Heaven certainly helps me to know the good and the bad more clearly and my feelings are so much stronger.

Besides gaining more spiritual clarity, becoming a member of the Church provided him with the sense of community he had been searching for since he arrived in London. I no longer feel the loneliness that I did when I first arrived. I know this is where God wants me to be.

Now, Aurimas tries to share the happiness that he has gained as much as he can with the people around him. Whether its people I know at school, or even people I dont know, I always want to share these truths because I know they can change lives for the better, he said.

Aurimas has some advice for anyone who feels like they are in darkness or, like they cant find answers to their souls deepest questions.

He said, Remember the times when you have felt guided in your lifeRemember those feelings, and it will help you find the answers youre looking for.

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Finding spiritual light in a lonely place - The Daily Universe - Universe.byu.edu

Stories and Spirituality Are Driving Passions for Confrontation Theatre’s Artistic Director – Willamette Week

La' Tevin Alexander has a theory about spirituality.

"I do find it odd that the most spiritual peopleif you look at historical figureshappen to also be the most confident people," he says. "If you really know that your god has your best interests at heart and will always look out for you, you do find a way to tell yourself that you're the greatest. It's a superpower."

That power is one of Alexander's greatest possessions. His faith and his confidence have helped fuel a career filled with triumphsincluding playing his idol, Muhammad Ali, in Oregon Children's Theatre's 2018 production of And in This Corner: Cassius Clay and founding Confrontation Theatre, which is devoted to telling stories of the African diaspora.

Alexander sometimes mentally scrutinizes his work midperformance. ("When it happens," he says, "I am feeling what I'm doing, experiencing what I'm doing and analyzing it as I'm doing it.") True to introspective form, he looked inward as he discussed seven things that are meaningful to him. He spoke not only about people and places, but about the ideas that have given him the strength to do what he does best: create.

1. God/Faith/Spirituality

"I started in the Christian-Baptist church, but as I got older and I started learning more about the world and more about other kinds of faiths and spiritualities, my belief in God expanded and my idea of spirituality expanded. Now I like to say that I follow the principles of [the ancient Egyptian goddess] Ma'at.

"I recently have been watchingalmost studyingGame of Thrones. I could compare the love and the bond that my family has to the love and bond that House Stark has. We've had a couple traumatic events and tragedies. My grandfather lost both his sons in four years, and those were his only boys. Both were my uncles, my mom's two brothers. That was something that really, really has shaped our family, along with a couple of other things that happened before my lifetime that sort of pulled the older generations together."

3. Black/African History (Pre-Transatlantic Slave Trade)

"I don't want to see another slave play. I don't want to see another slave movie. I don't care to see another Jim Crow movie. As much as I am hurt and mad and want to fight and want to protest and riot, I also want to make love. I also want to laugh. Being in this country, we have the tendency to disproportionately produce and consume trauma, rather than black joy and any other things that black people do and experience."

4. Historically Black Colleges and Universities

"Andrea Vernae, who was in School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, she's like my best friend. We both went to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, also known as FAMU, which is an HBCU. That was the place where I was truly exposed to black excellence on another scale. Black academic excellence, black athletic excellence, pharmaceutical excellence, judiciary, business. It was like walking into Wakanda for this first time and being like, 'Wait, this shit is real?'"

"When I do work [at the Blazers Boys & Girls Club], I usually work in the art department, and we do these things called club meetings. Once things get wrapped up, or if I'm trying to get the attention of the kids, I'll tell a story. I try to go in all different directions because they love it and we love it and oral history is one of our traditions as black peoplesitting down in front of the elder while they tell you about a great person who lived, a traumatic event that happened or a love story that swept the country."

"Basketball is my No. 1 love. Sports are one of those thingslike family and sometimes like religion and spiritualitythat bring people together. It goes outside of your ethnicity, outside of your nationality, outside of your faith."7. "Freedom to be who I wanna be & think how I wanna think."

"Who is a baby to think that it can grow up and put restrictions on what I want to do and put restrictions on what I want to say? Being a person of faith and spirituality, I believe my soul is no better or worse than your soul. And because I know that to be true, I'm going to express myself the way I want to.

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Stories and Spirituality Are Driving Passions for Confrontation Theatre's Artistic Director - Willamette Week

What is the spiritual meaning of the heart? – Aleteia IT

The heart is mentioned frequently in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, where Jesus frequently uses the term to explain spiritual truths.

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. (Matthew 5:8)

For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. (Matthew 6:21)

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)

In Christianity, the heart symbolizes the center or core of our being, from which prayer and moral actions originate. This even explains the word core, which is derived from the Latin word cor, meaning, heart.

TheCatechism of the Catholic Church echoes this definition and describes the spiritual meaning of the heart in its section on prayer.

Where does prayer come from? Whether prayer is expressed in words or gestures, it is the whole man who prays. But in naming the source of prayer, Scripture speaks sometimes of the soul or the spirit, but most often of the heart (more than a thousand times). According to Scripture, it is the heart that prays. If our heart is far from God, the words of prayer are in vain.

The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live; according to the Semitic or Biblical expression, the heart is the place to which I withdraw. The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully. The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant.(CCC 2562-2563)

Besides prayer, the heart is also seen as a source of our moral decisions.

The heart is the seat of moral personality: Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication The pure in heart are promised that they will see God face to face and be like him. Purity of heart is the precondition of the vision of God. Even now it enables us to see according to God, to accept others as neighbors; it lets us perceive the human body ours and our neighbors as a temple of the Holy Spirit, a manifestation of divine beautyPurity of heart requires the modesty which is patience, decency, and discretion. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. (CCC 2517, 2519, 2533)

This is why the heart is so often used in spiritual writings, as it is seen as a primary source of so much that happens in our spiritual lives. It also explains why love is associated with the heart, as authentic love comes from the core of our being, not something that is on the surface.

For this same reason, it is significant that Jesus is often depicted holding out his heart to us, inviting us to take it within ourselves and let Jesus heart rule over our heart.

As Jesus said to his disciples, Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves (Matthew 11:29).

If we want to progress in the spiritual life, we need to look at our heart and let God transform it, thus transforming our prayer and moral decisions.

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What is the spiritual meaning of the heart? - Aleteia IT

Young Adventist Wins Second Place in ‘Voice of Bulgaria’ With Spiritual Song – Adventist Review

June 21, 2020

By: Ivalina Ilieva, Inter-European Division, and Adventist Review

Yoana Sashova, a third-generation Seventh-day Adventist and a third-generation musician won second place in The Voice of Bulgaria competition in June 2020. Sashova achieved that feat with The Heavens Declare You, a set of song lyrics she wrote to the tune of a well-known song by pop singer Billie Eilish.

Sashova turned the chairs of three out of four coaches at the blind auditions. She was then asked to sing a second song, which made her a star. Her second song was at number one on YouTube for the month following and generated more than three million views.

Open About Her Faith

From the start, Sashova introduced herself as a believer in God, and she kept witnessing about her faith throughout the competition.

Despite the fact that she had been asked several times by journalists not to talk about her faith, Sashova was adamant: I cant help it! I owe Him everything!

After singing her own spiritual song, her coach told her, In these times, when virtues and values are somehow out of date, you appeared as a bright ray of light and are the absolute antithesis of the reality that surrounds us. You are a symbol of humanity, purity, and sincerity, a great gift of God. To me, you are a hope!

Another coach, commenting on her final song, Consolation, remarked, You are a believer in God. May He bless you!

Thousands of positive comments about her singing were posted on social media platforms. We will be praying for you. Thank you for presenting our God in the most dignified way with words, deeds, talent! wrote one. A person gets goosebumps on hearing the beautiful voice and the unique playing of the guitar. Well done, girl! God has given her a talent that most of the Bulgarian singers lack! wrote another. A third comment added, There is hope for this world once people have managed to appreciate a modest and talented girl without silicone! We are too used to vulgarity and pranks; its a miracle when something normal appears!

Turning to the audience at the finals, Sashova said, God is great! God loves you! I am so grateful He has given me the opportunity to be here.

Sashovas interview with Hope Channel Bulgaria generated unprecedented interest, and many have posted comments on the great impression she made on them with her witness.

I met Yoanas family years ago, said Corrado Cozzi, Inter-European Division communication director, a family with the gift of music that they transmit with passion and with a very deep spiritual feeling. Yoana could only follow this passion and transmit it with the same enthusiasm. We are proud of her.

The Heavens Declare You

Sashova often writes her own music and lyrics and plays guitar. In 2019, she won the childrens competition for Bulgarian folk songs. It was at that time she wrote The Heavens Declare You based on Billie Eilishs tune, When the Partys Over, a song that laments the end of a human relationship. Sashovas lyrics declare her love and devotion for God.

And Your glory is timeless. I know You walk before me, I humbly follow You, Sashovas song says. Heres my heart it is broken. But You are my consolation Im waiting on You only. I hear Your voice, and I know You walk beside me. You stretch out Your pierced hands, You save my soul! Heres my heart it is broken. But You are my consolation Im waiting on You only!

Sashova attends the Roma Seventh-day Adventist Church in the town of Kyustendil in southwest Bulgaria. This Roma community has the densest Adventist population in Europe, with 1,300 church members living among 12,000 inhabitants. They worship in two congregations.

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-European Division news site.

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Young Adventist Wins Second Place in 'Voice of Bulgaria' With Spiritual Song - Adventist Review

A Chance to Recharge Mentally, Spiritually and Emotionally – The New York Times

Welcome. People talk about the new normal all the time now, but there isnt one yet. There wont be one for a long time to come. Our behavior is changing hourly with our moods, it seems, in response to stimuli that might be information, that might be instinct. Its hard to say. Were sitting at restaurant tables on the sidewalk, marching in the streets, streaming into thrift shops and bars. Were giddy with pleasure, nervousness, joy, uncertainty. This persons too close. That ones too far.

What we know: Its still safest at home, our hands scrubbed clean. We might be on the couch, reading noir: Nic Pizzolattos Galveston, currently. Or poetry: Claudia Rankines Weather, in The New York Times Book Review, for sure. We might be in the kitchen, making dinner: Melissa Clarks crisp chicken schnitzel with lemony herb salad. We might be playing Spelling Bee.

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We might be pacing the living room, listening to this special episode of The Daily featuring Wesley Morris, our critic-at-large, talking about finding comfort at a time of need in the singer Patti LaBelle in song and then on the phone. And were definitely going to curl into a chair tomorrow evening, to conference in to our Comfort, Cocktails and Conversation event with Veronica Chambers and Toni Tipton Martin at 6 p.m. Eastern. Theyll be raising a glass to Fridays Juneteenth holiday, and talking race and food and joy. Please sign up to join them.

At Home provides all that and more: an archive of entertainments that run parallel to or entirely away from the news, a place to recharge mentally, and spiritually, even emotionally. We stand for art and design, dance and music and literature, deliciousness and self-care. Our best ideas for how to live a full and cultured life in a pandemic appear below. And we publish more of them every day. Please visit. And let us know what you think!

You can always find much more to read, watch and do every day on At Home. And you can email us: athome@nytimes.com.

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A Chance to Recharge Mentally, Spiritually and Emotionally - The New York Times

International Yoga Day: The relevance of yoga and the benefits of incorporating it for spiritual growth – Times Now

The benefits of incorporating yoga for spiritual growth 

Yoga, the process of training the mind and body, has been in practice since age immemorial. This method of governing the senses, the intellect, and the body, brings about holistic growth that aids in well-being. This June 21, the world will celebrate the sixth International Day of Yoga, and by doing so, the emphasis will be on the relevance of the ancient Indian tradition.

Yoga is not bound by time. It is testified by the fact that the ancient Indian practise revelled in Indian scriptures, has been embraced by the world. And it's benefits are meant for humanity for generations after generations irrespective of caste, colour or creed.

From the sacred Bhagavad Gita to the holyUpanishad, yoga has been celebrated as an ingredient to attain a state of calm and blissfulness. Interestingly, yoga is not restricted to asanas, pranayama or dhayana. Going by these books, yoga is a way of life, which, when embraced in its entirety, brings about a sea change in the way a person handles his/her life. To know what the Bhagavad Gita says about yoga, click here.

What we call yoga today is only a part of what it is in reality. Nonetheless, people across the globe have reaped the benefits of doing yoga which not only makes the mind and the body healthy but also helps in self-realisation.

Yoga asanas assist in building a robust body while improving flexibility and pranayama helps in regulating the breathing pattern.

The various asanas, pranayama, dhyana, dharana, and the other limbs of Ashtanga Yoga, assist the practitioner by helping him/her realise the self. It is a method by which a person can remain unaffected by troubles in times of adversities. When he/she rids himself/herself of the myriad emotions, the journey called life becomes more manageable. It is about remaining attached yet detached from the world. And this, in turn, helps him/her in attaining Moksha.

1) When a person is spiritually conscious, it helps him/her in remaining calm even when things are not going right. Thus, he/she can keep anxiety and stress at bay.

2) By incorporating yoga in daily life, one can learn that 'it is okay to not feel okay' sometimes. Thus it boosts your emotional and psychological well-being.

3) It prepares the mind for success as well as failures. Meaning, it makes a person embrace both agonies and ecstasies in the same spirit.

4) It creates awareness about the infinite nature of the universe and that we are a tiny part of it. This, in turn, helps the mind in knowing that there's some supreme power that makes things happen.

5) The mind produces endless thoughts. Most of them often end up being negative or depressing. Yoga helps in regulating the thoughts by controlling the mind.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional advice.

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International Yoga Day: The relevance of yoga and the benefits of incorporating it for spiritual growth - Times Now

Is Being Religious and LGBTQ+ Mutually Exclusive? – Advocate.com

Activist Scott Keoni Shigeoka, who identifies as queer and spiritual, went on a yearlong (pre-pandemic) road trip across the United States to understand how we could bridge social and political divides.

While in Minneapolis last year, Shigeoka brought together community members and leaders from the LGBTQ+ and faith communities for honest and open conversations with each other.They laughed, cried, and shared stories about their lives, as seen in the video below. We also caught up with Shigeoka to talk further about reconciling queer identity with organized religion; read the interview below.

The Advocate: Why did you create this video?Shigeoka: I learned that so much of what LGBTQ+ folks are fighting for right now demands that we do this in solidarity with others outside of our community. These allies are a growing base of progressive support that exists across our country. I learned from OutFront's executive director Monica Meyer, who is featured in the video, that successful campaigns to protect the rights of same-sex couples in Minnesota have historically engaged with faith-based communities. This makes sense because Minnesota is a very religious state, with an overwhelming majority identifying as Christians (some polls show as much as 75 percent of the state). In the Twin Cities, faith communities are as diverse as its people with folks identifying as Muslim, Jewish and Sikh, among countless other religions too.

As we think about ways to drive social change, it's important for us to engage in a healthy, open and productive dialogue with those outside of our community. We have an opportunity to continue to mobilize the vast number of people in the religious community who are already in support of equity and rights for LGBTQ+ people. Many advocacy organizations are already doing this work,partnering with faith-based institutions on issues such as banning conversion therapy, updating employment discrimination law to include LGBTQ+ workers, and ending the violence against trans peoplewhich disproportionately impacts trans women of color.

This video is a rallying call for the general public to join this effort of bridging LGBTQ+ and faith divides in our country. To walk the talk, this video was co-produced by a friend who is a cis straight man, Jon Reynolds. He lives in Minneapolis and attended the Christian college Bethel University. I thought it was important to not just talk about bridging, but to do it ourselves too.

What's your "spiritual autobiography"?The first time I learned about the word "spiritual injury" was in a conversation with my dear friend Eddie Gonzalez, who works at the Civil Conversations Project at On Being (a podcast produced in a studio in Minneapolis, where we shot the film). As a gay kid growing up, I was immersed in religious narratives that marginalized LGBTQ+ people. It made me feel like there was something wrong with being gay. Even though I felt deeply connected to spirituality, I was told by people and this broader narrative that I couldn't be queerandspiritual. These religious narratives also impacted my mental health. I entered a spiral of shame that transmuted into self-hatred. It's a story that many of us in the LGBTQ+ community can relate to.

Overtime, I learned that not all Christians are the same. I remember the first time I saw a Pride flag hanging in front of a friend's church, which is very different from theanti-LGBTQ+ narratives I heard growing up. Throughout my adult life, I've met thousands of people who are religious yetaccept, celebrate and include the LGBTQ+ community. They organize with us, they march with us, and they fight with us. I also learned that some religious people are LGBTQ+ themselveseven members of clergy or leadership.

These interactions helped me overcome my 'spiritual injury', which was a barrier that prevented me from connecting fully to my own spirituality. It also countered the stereotypes I had about religious people, introducing more nuance to a group identity I once viewed as monolithic and anti-LGBTQ+.

Over time, I learned that I could be both queer and spiritual. The process itself has been healing to my own spiritual injury.

What's next for you?I hope to bring these kinds of stories and opportunities for dialogue to different spaces, such as Christian colleges. I'd like to bridge the LGBTQ+ and Faith divide.

Overall, the work of bridging differences is about bringing more people along thejourney toward justice and equality for all. It has become a life purpose for me. Creating solidarity is an important aspect of social change across all issues, not just in service of the LGBTQ+ community. For example, the LGBTQ+ community can march, enlist and organize in solidarity with Black Lives Matterjust as the religious community can work toward equality alongside the LGBTQ+ community.

Video directed by Scott Keoni Shigeoka, co-produced by Scott Keoni Shigeoka and Jon Reynolds. Learn more about Scott atscottshigeoka.com

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Is Being Religious and LGBTQ+ Mutually Exclusive? - Advocate.com

Catholic composer David Haas accused of ‘sexual battery’ and ‘spiritual manipulation’ – Catholic News Agency

Denver Newsroom, Jun 14, 2020 / 06:43 pm MT (CNA).- The composer of several well-known songs used in Catholic liturgies has been dropped by a prominent hymnal publisher, amid accusations of serial spiritual manipulation and sexual misconduct.

Early this year we became aware of allegations of sexual misconduct by David Haas, and we learned the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis was considering a decision not to provide him a letter of suitability, GIA Publications said in a June 13 Facebook post.

In response, we suspended our sponsorship and publishing relationship with Mr. Haas, and have not sponsored his work since late January, the publisher added.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has also received multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against the composer, a spokesman told CNA, adding that in 2018 the archdiocese declined to provide Haas with a requested letter of reccomendation.

Haas, 63, is the composer of several songs included in the Gather hymnal published by GIA, which is among the best-selling and most used hymnals in American Catholic parishes.

The composer, a layman, is a central figure in the contemporary liturgical music movement that began in the 1970s, along with composers Marty Haugen, Fr. Michael Joncas, Dan Schutte, and the St. Louis Jesuits group.

Among Haas songs are some contemporary standards: Glory to God, You are Mine, We are Called, and Blest are They, among others.

A group called Into Account, which says it provides advocacy and the most up-to-date resources to survivors seeking accountability, sent last week a letter to some Catholic organizations and media outlets, addressing allegations against Haas.

The letter, obtained by CNA June 14, said the group had received reports from multiple individuals reporting sexually predatory actions from the composer David Haas.

These individuals are in positions of professional and/or personal vulnerability that make it difficult for them to identify themselves publicly. They are almost all fearful of Haass retaliation, and based on what they have reported, we believe those fears to be well-founded.

The pattern that emerges from the reports weve received on Haass behavior constitutes a repeated, unethical abuse of the professional and spiritual power he has had in church music circles. Haas has allegedly targeted multiple women using techniques that abuse prevention experts identify as grooming, to create conditions in which women felt obligated to perform sexual favors in exchange for professional opportunities. His generosity, we are told, often came with a sexual price tag, Into Account said.

The allegations weve received also contain a disturbing component of spiritual manipulation. Haas reportedly focuses attention on women with past histories of abuse, then uses the vulnerabilities created by trauma to create intimacy. Multiple women have reported to us that Haas is skilled at making his targets feel spiritually affirmed, seen, and loved, with a keen understanding of how that spiritual intimacy can then be exploited sexually, the letter added.

Some women have described romantic relationships with Haas that felt consensual in the beginning, but were then marked by sudden, overwhelming sexual aggression from Haas, in which any resistance was met with extreme anger. Other women have described incidents that we would interpret as outright sexual battery, involving groping, forcible kissing, and aggressive, lewd propositions. The youngest victim reported to us was 19 years old at the time of the alleged sexual battery, while Haas was over 50.

We have no knowledge of Haas perpetrating any sexual offenses against minors, and we have no knowledge of any behavior from Haas that has led to criminal charges, the group said.

Stephanie Krehbiel, Into Accounts executive director, told CNA June 14 that the group has heard from nearly a dozen alleged victims of Haas.

Krehbiel said the group first heard from an alleged victim of Haas through a confidential form on its website in early 2020. That contact let to reports from other alleged victims, and from people active in liturgical music circles, who had observations or concerns about Haas.

One alleged victim reportedly told Into Account that Haas had made unwanted sexual advances and forcibly kissed her during a religious education congress in Los Angeles.

According to Krehbiel, another said she met Haas as a student participant in Music Ministry Alive, a musical formation program for teenagers founded by the composer, who allegedly made inappropriate advances a few years later, when the former student was 19.

Krehbiel told CNA that her group aims to assist victims of sexual misconduct, assault, or battery. She added that because the allegations against Haas involve only adults, contacting law enforcement is up to the discretion of the survivor.

Into Account shared the information it had received, Krehbiel told CNA, because alleged victims hope their stories will prevent future misconduct. They hope to take away his access to vulnerable people, and ensure that he is not able to continue to do this.

Haas told CNA Sunday that he is preparing to release a statement this week, but declined to answer specific questions. As of Saturday, Haas page was no longer available on Facebook.

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, in which Haas lives, told CNA June 14 that it too received reports about the composer.

In November of 2018, the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis received two reports that Mr. Haas acted inappropriately with two adult women at a recent event in another state. Both women complained that Mr. Haas conduct that evening made them feel uncomfortable. Mr. Haas denied misconduct. In 1987, the Archdiocese had received a complaint alleging that David Haas had made an unwelcomed sexual advance toward a young adult woman, which he also denied, archdiocesan spokesman Tom Halden told CNA.

Following the 2018 complaints, the Archdiocese informed Mr. Haas that the Archdiocese would not provide him with a letter of recommendation that he had requested.

Furthermore, the Archdiocese advised Mr. Haas that he was not allowed to provide services at Catholic institutions in the Archdiocese without disclosure of the complaints made against him, Halden added.

GIAs June 13 statement added that new allegations of sexually abusive conduct by Mr. Haas continue to be reported. We take these reports seriously. GIA Publications supports and stands with victims. We must join together to address and prevent sexual abuse.

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Catholic composer David Haas accused of 'sexual battery' and 'spiritual manipulation' - Catholic News Agency

Kunal Kapoor: I think technology changes the world outside and spirituality changes the world inside – Times of India

Bollywood actor and entrepreneur Kunal Kapoor is a self-confessed voracious reader. And in a conversation with Bombay Times, the Gold actor revealed that he is doing a course on artificial intelligence and enjoys reading books on technology as well as spirituality. Well, you know, one of my favourite writers is a writer called Bill Bryson. His books I really enjoy. Right now I'm, like I said, you know, I'm doing a course in artificial intelligence. So, I'm reading a lot of books connected to artificial intelligence and technology in general. So, yeah, the other thing that I really enjoy reading about is spirituality. So it's a combination of technology and spirituality. Those are the books that I'm reading right now. And, you know, I had put out an Instagram post for me, I really believe that the two things that are really important for us as people, and that will get us through this is spirituality and technology. I think technology changes the world outside. And spirituality changes the world inside. So right now I'm focusing on the two minute reading as many books as I can, around those two topics, the actor had shared during the video interview.

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Kunal Kapoor: I think technology changes the world outside and spirituality changes the world inside - Times of India

Happy Monday 06/15 by The Power of Love Radio | Spirituality – BlogTalkRadio

h:1153021s:11756723archived

Lizzy Star and Hazel Martin welcome you to The Power of Love Radioon Monday 15thJune2020at 2.00 pm eastern / 7.00 pm UK.

Happy Monday.Join Lizzy and Hazel as we see where Spirit leads this Monday.Call in to share your thoughts with Lizzy and Hazel andto receive a free mini reading.

We look forward to seeing you in the chat room,taking your calls on airand to connect with friends, old and new. Call in to (646) 787-1682 to listen live or chat with us.

Lizzy Star is a gifted,world-renowned psychic medium and CEO and Spiritual Jewelry Creator at Heavenly Star Jewelrywww.heavenlystarjewel.comFind Lizzy on facebook atwww.facebook.com/LizzyStarInternationalMedium

Hazel Martin is a Spiritual Intuitive Psychic Medium, Reiki Master/Teacher, Akashic Record Consultant and Angel Card Reader. Hazel can be reached through her website atwww.hazelmartin.comCheck out Hazel's Etsy shop for crystals, bracelets and more..www.etsy.com/shop/thecelticoracle

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Happy Monday 06/15 by The Power of Love Radio | Spirituality - BlogTalkRadio

Transported across the centuries at the feast day festival at the Baptistery of St John in Florence, Italy – Catholic Leader

Remembering: The procession celebrating the feast day of St John the Baptist. Photos: Alan Edgecomb

On a recent journey to Italy, photojournalist Alan Edgecomb visited the Baptistery of St John, Florence, or the Battistero di San Giovanni. He shares his thoughts on the remarkable historical splendour.

I did not know anything about a Baptistery until I arrived in Florence and discovered the elaborate sacred space called a baptistery.

These were built near a cathedral as a place to instruct new converts to Christianity and where the bishop would ultimately baptise the new believer.

The baptistry became less important once there were fewer adults welcomed into the church.

The octagonal Baptistery of St John in Florence is one of the oldest buildings in the city, constructed between 1059 and 1128 in the Florentine Romanesque style on the site of a 4th Century baptistry.

The baptistry has three sets of impressive bronze doors.

The oldest is the South Door cast by sculptor Andrea Pisano between 1330 and 1336 and tells the story of the life and death of one of the churchs most illustrious saints.

The uppermost panels depict episodes from the life of St John the Baptist while the others portray the Christian virtues.

This in itself evokes spiritual awareness in the believer, irrespective of doctrinal persuasion.

The North Door contains scenes from the New Testament and the four evangelists and four Church Fathers.

Upon entering the baptistry, one cannot help but notice the high dome and the mosaics of the huge figure of Christ in Judgement.

Historical splendour: Christ in Judgement in the dome of the Baptistry of St John, Florence. Photos: Alan Edgecomb

Scenes from the Last Judgement on three of the domes eight segments takes ones breath away.

While not as large as the Baptistry in Pisa, it is an intensely spiritual place with echoes of past ceremonies, including the baptism of members of the Medici family.

Pause for a while and breathe and listen and there is something explicable which can only be described as awesome.

On June 24 each year, Florence celebrates the feast of their patron saint, St John the Baptist.

This starts with a parade of colourful and ordered processions lending itself to the celebratory yet solemn occasion leading to the Palazzo Vecchio, the town hall, on the Piazza della Signoria and then to the Baptistry.

The participants of the procession carry symbolic gifts, including candles.

Colourful: A unique display of traditional dress and colour as Florence celebrates the feast of their patron saint, St John the Baptist, on June 24 each year.

In previous times, candles were decorated and donated to help illuminate the cathedral.

Mass is celebrated and later in the afternoon the traditional historical Florentine Soccer match is played.

The day finishes with a fireworks display.

This annual event is a transportation across the centuries and makes for a unique experience to any tourist or student fortunate enough to experience this event.

As an aspirant historian of church history, I observed with insight that in April 1348, a plague called the Black Death, struck Florence which slashed the citys population from 90,000 to 45,000.

The world has seen a cycle of these similar virulent pandemics.

As Florence did of old it resurrected itself to a historical splendour the pilgrim now experiences. Dei gratia.

Written by: Guest Contributor

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Transported across the centuries at the feast day festival at the Baptistery of St John in Florence, Italy - Catholic Leader

International Day of Yoga 2020: A Brief History of This Spiritual Discipline And The Art of Living Healthy – India.com

International Day of Yoga 2020: Yoga is a buzzing term these days and almost everyone wants to go this ancient way to be healthy and away from all sorts of ailments. This body-mind practice has more than what you think, to offer. To understand its importance and reliability you firstly need to know about its brief history. So, here it is. Also Read - International Day of Yoga: Health Experts Tell us The Yoga Asanas They Swear by

Yoga is derived from a Sanskrit word Yuj which means unite or union. It is primarily a deeply spiritual way to improve your consciousness and understand that you are a part of a greater entity. Also Read - International Day of Yoga: Easy Yoga Asanas For a Flat Belly

As far as the origin of yoga is concerned, it is difficult to tell. All we know is that it was developed during the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India over 5,000 years ago. This information is based on seals and fossil remains of this civilization that have Yogic motives and figures performing Yoga Sadhana. The word yoga was first mentioned or documented in the Rig Veda, one of the four sacred canonical texts. Later, it was trickled-down in other sacred Hindu books like Upnishads and the Bhagavad Gita in 500 B.C.E. Also Read - International Day of Yoga Day: 8 Common Misconceptions Associated With Yoga

Some researchers believe that yoga was originated around 10000 years ago but there is no valid proof of that. For the better understanding of people, the evolution of yoga has been segregated into 4 periods namely Vedic yoga, pre-classical yoga, classical yoga, and post-classical yoga. Lets know about them in detail.

Vedic Yoga: Vedic yoga dates back to ancient India when it was mostly associated with the rituals and idea of sacrifice (Yajna).

Pre-classical Yoga: The period between ca. 2500 to 100 BCE is considered as the pre-classical age of yoga. During this time, various important Hindu texts were written like Upanishads (a collection of texts that talks about meditation, philosophy, and spiritual knowledge) and Bhagavad Gita (an important religious texts that contains a comprehensive description of yoga).

Classical Yoga: During this period, Patanjali Yoga Sutras, the first book containing a systematic representation of yoga, was written.

Post-classical Yoga: During this period, Tantra yoga or the Hatha Yoga were introduced. It talks about the use of body and mind to attain enlightenment.

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International Day of Yoga 2020: A Brief History of This Spiritual Discipline And The Art of Living Healthy - India.com

Fit for Life: Physical, Spiritual and Emotional Health – GoLocal Worcester

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Saturday, June 13, 2020

Matt Espeut, Health + Lifestyle Contributor

I received emails from a few sources, so I cant give direct credit for it, but wanted to give full disclosure that it isnt 100% my content.

With that being said, I think you will get great value from it.

You already know that habits have the power to transform your life.

Coming out of this lockdown, many of us are working on getting our regular habits back on track. Or maybe you need to create new habits in this new reality.

The other day I was listening to a podcast with a man who says he does 2 push-ups every time he visits the bathroom.

Now, even though this sounds a little weird because I wouldnt recommend doing push-ups in the bathroom (maybe right outside the bathroom?!) the basic info was solid.

Tiny Habits

It was all about making real changes in your lifestyle to support your goals.

The man BJ Fogg is actually a Stanford behavioral scientist who studies how people create routines and change habits.

He used his 2-push-up habit to kick start another tiny but healthy change in his life.

And do you know what happened?! They all added up to a 20+ pound weight loss in just a few months

He wrote a book about it called Tiny Habits. He also came up with a formula that outlines how to make these changes, so they become automatic, so you dont even have to really think about them:

"Behavior (B) happens when Motivation (M), Ability (A), and a Prompt (P) come together at the same time."

This basically means that to make a lasting behavior change (habit), you need to piece 3 things:

Motivation You have to WANT to make a change. If you think you SHOULD make a change, but you arent really into it, it wont stick. (Must be internal Motivation, not external motivation)

(REALITY CHECK: sometimes you have to give a new habit a try before you decide whether its for you or not. Once you start feeling the results, youll start to want to make the change.)

Prompt This is a reminder to do the behavior. It could be something like going to the bathroom or opening the refrigerator door or setting a timer or alarm on your phone.Or, your reminder could be a reward if you want to check your phone, you need to do 5 squats first.

Ability Not only you should be physically able to do the behavior, but also have the time and space to do it. Doing those 5 squats takes a lot less time and is much easier than running 1 mile!

Over time, this formula adds up to habits (and results) that can stick for a lifetime.

One of the things I really like about this approach is that it is super achievable.

He set the bar low rather than making himself do 10 push-ups, he just did 2. That gets rid of the dread factor!

Then he built it up from there, adding or changing a few behaviors as they occurred to him, eventually creating dozens of reflexive changes in his daily life! Pretty awesome, right?

Its all about stacking small wins that become BIG WINS. Small habits become a massive transformation.

Keep stacking little wins.

As I mentioned earlier, I know a lot of us are working to get back into our healthy habits after the wild ride 2020 has given us so far what is 1 behavior you can add starting today?

Committed to your success,

Matt

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Fit for Life: Physical, Spiritual and Emotional Health - GoLocal Worcester

Spirituality

Spirituality - Is it Religion?Spirituality extends beyond an expression of religion or practice of religion. There is a pursuit for a spiritual dimension that not only inspires, but creates harmony with the universe. That relationship between ourselves and something greater compels us to seek answers about the infinite. During times of intense emotional, mental, or physical stress, man searches for transcendent meaning, oftentimes through nature, music, the arts, or a set of philosophical beliefs. This often results in a broad set of principles that transcends all religions.

While spirituality and religion remain different, sometimes the terms are used interchangeably. This lack of clarity in their definitions frequently leads to debates. Suppose ones spirituality leads to the formation of a religion? Is it necessary for a spiritual person to be religious? Through certain actions, an individual may appear outwardly religious, and yet lack any underlying principles of spirituality. In its broadest sense, spirituality may include religion for some, but still stands alone without a connection to any specific faith.

Spirituality - What is it?The search for spirituality, mans connection to something beyond the temporal, sends him wandering down paths that offer unsatisfactory results. The Far East offers shrines that contain hundreds of statues. Worshippers choose a statue that most resembles an ancestor and pray to it. A piece of stone or rock represents ones personal and intimate relationship with the spiritual realm. During the 4th and 5th centuries B.C., Athens was a vital culture center with a world-famous university. The Athenians were firm and rigid in their spirituality as well as their reverencing of their deities (i.e. religion). Yet the meeting place of the Council of the Areopagus, the supreme body for judicial and legislative matters, contained an altar with the inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.

Whether spirituality is sought through pagan religious experiences, psychic experiments, or tapping the hidden capabilities of man the results are disastrous. In addition to the overtly religious cults, there is a pursuit into the cosmic spiritual realm where man attempts to establish contact with actual spiritual beings. Ironically, in an effort to acquire tranquility and inspiration, man surrenders his soul to astrology, mediators, meditation, mind control, and demonic spirits (Isaiah 47:1215).

Spirituality - What is True SpiritualityTrue spirituality involves a daily trust in the One that created us. [Jesus Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or power or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Colossians 1:1517).

It is not a religion that holds us to a set of rules or traditions. It is not attained through any human worthiness. It is about a relationship that God offers us, an eternal life with Him.

What is your response?

Yes, I want to follow Jesus

I am a follower of Jesus

I still have questions

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Spirituality

Spirits over spirituality? |India Today Insight – India Today

Father Ronal M. Varghese, a Latin Catholic priest and educator in Kollam in Kerala, has had an epiphany. A Mass without community participation is like a man without a soul, he says, describing the ritual he has been celebrating in private in the chapel as mechanical and monotonous. Its better to open up places of worship to ease stress during these hard times. Of course, with social distancing rules in place, he says.

Hes not the only one. On May 15, Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Church, wrote to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan seeking permission to open the communitys churcheswith the requisite social distancing norms--for Mass. In fact, he wanted all places of worship in the state to be opened. The CM responded on May 18 saying it was inadvisable while the state was still battling the coronavirus. Besides, there was a directive from the Union government to keep places of worship closed during the lockdown.

Covid has killed thousands regardless of their faith in India. Kerala has so far recorded only nine of the 5,164 COVID-19 casualties in India (as on May 31) but is watchful after a renewed surge and warnings from the Indian Council of Medical Research against more aggressive strains of the virus. The state has seen 642 cases in the past 10 days alone.

The Centres do not open till infection levels drop list includes places of worship and educational institutions. An advisory has been issued to start online classes for the education sector. At least two religious congregationsthe Tablighi Jamaats markaz in Nizamuddin, Delhi, and at a gurudwara in Nanded, Maharashtrahave been COVID-19 hotspots. But Keralas religious leaders fear their grip on the faithful is slipping after two months of the lockdown. Some Christian priests have gone online and uploaded the Mass and sermons but the number of hits has been underwhelming.

The state has 28,000 Hindu temples which include popular shrines like Sabarimala, Guruvayur and the Padmanabhaswami temple in Thiruvananthapuram. Some 1,800 of these are governed by the state Devaswom boards. Among the other communities, the Christians run 4,951 churches and the Muslims 6,520 mosques in the state. The state demographic profile lists 18.3 million Hindus, 8.87 million Muslims and 6.14 million Christians (Census 2011).

Kerala had ordered the closing of all places of worship to devotees on March 23 (there are 24 cases registered against those who violated the ban). Religious leaders cutting across faiths feel the restrictions must now be eased in a phased manner.

The state government reopened liquor outlets on May 28 and has introduced a virtual queue system (through the BevQ app) to limit crowds. Some religious activists are incensed by what they say are the governments double standards. The state government must remember that spirituality is more important than spirits, says Rahul Easwar, right-wing activist and president of the Ayyappa Dharma Sena which led the Sabarimala protests (against the entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50), questioning the logic behind keeping places of worship closed. Thousands of families--including those of priests and musicians--who depend on the temples for their livelihood are now out of a job, he says.

Theologian and former spokesperson of the Syro-Malabar Church Fr Paul Thelakkat supports the idea but with reservations. Im for opening churches and other places of worship for services but not for festivals. And it must be with sufficient health protocols in place. The churches were very cooperative in the fight against the pandemic. Now they should act responsibly when they offer religious services. I believe in common prayer and spiritual gatherings but I do not want fundamentalist, foolhardy pietism to destroy the gains we have made against COVID-19, the priest said.

Renowned Hindu priest Brahmasree Kalidasa Bhattathirpad has a more anger-of-the-gods line to his argument. According to him, keeping religious places locked up may generate negative energy and the anger of holy spirits. Never in our history have places of worship remained locked for so long. We must open our doors to reduce the tension and fear. I think if we perform rituals and poojas, it may help fight the pandemic better, Bhattathirpad says. But he also insists that social distancing norms must be followed.

State government officials say the opening of religious places is out of the question, especially when some 125,000 people are under quarantine and surveillance. In fact, we are planning more restrictions on community gatherings and may order a complete lockdown again in hotspots, says a senior government official.

Bishop emeritus of the Syro-Malabar church, Kanjirapally diocese, and member of the Covid expert committee Mathew Arackel, says the chief minister is right in continuing the restrictions. We are still in the danger zone and infections are spreading to more areas. Considering the situation, its better to keep religious places shut for a few more days, says Arackel. He adds that the opening of religious places will attract crowds and fears that enforcing social distancing will be a problem.

Meanwhile, Muslim clerics like Hussain Madavoor say they are waiting for the government to take an appropriate decision over the opening of religious places.

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Spirits over spirituality? |India Today Insight - India Today

Vatican official: Racism is ‘spiritual’ virus that must be wiped out – Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Much like the coronavirus pandemic, racism is a "spiritual" virus that has spread throughout the world and must be eradicated, said Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

"I would compare (racism) to COVID-19, but it is a virus of the spirit, a cultural virus that, if not isolated, spreads quickly," Archbishop Paglia told Catholic News Service June 1.

The Italian archbishop commented on the May 25 death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis and the subsequent protests throughout the United States.

Floyd, 46, was arrested by police on suspicion of forgery. Once he was handcuffed, a white officer pinned him down on the street, putting his knee on Floyd's neck for eight minutes. A now widely circulated video shows Floyd repeatedly saying, "I can't breathe." He appears to lose consciousness or die and was later declared dead at the hospital.

Archbishop Paglia told CNS that just as people were called to self-isolate in order to care for one another, racism can only be defeated by people caring for each other.

"Today we must start a revolution of brotherhood. We are all brothers and sisters. Brotherhood is a promise that is lacking in modern times," he said. "In my opinion, the true strength that supports us in our weakness is brotherhood and solidarity. And just as it defeats the coronavirus, it also defeats racism."

The fight against racism, he added, is done "not with violence but in the style of Martin Luther King, Jr.: with words, with culture, with faith, with humanism. It is fought the same way we fight against the coronavirus."

"It's not enough to remain silent," the Italian archbishop said. "To prevent the virus of racism from multiplying, those (who oppose racism) must also multiply."

He said the United States has had a vocation of helping others, not just themselves, but "I believe they have lost" that vocation.

Archbishop Paglia said he believed Pope Francis should consider writing a document that addresses the subject of racism, a problem "all over the world."

However, he also noted that the pope's 2019 letter marking the 25th anniversary of the Pontifical Academy for Life reflects on many of the same divisions that exist in the world today.

In the letter, titled "The Human Community," the pope said the sense of fraternity between people and nations has been weakened by the erosion of mutual trust and "remains the unkept promise of modernity."

"Mutual distrust between individuals and peoples is being fed by an inordinate pursuit of self-interest and intense competition that can even turn violent. The gap between concern with one's own well-being and the prosperity of the larger human family seems to be stretching to the point of complete division," the pope wrote.

Archbishop Paglia told CNS that brotherhood among peoples can only be possible "if the discussion passes to the fact that we are one family of 7 billion people."

"It's not that I can say to my brother, 'I don't care about you' because he's the ninth brother and I only like the first five siblings," he said. Nevertheless, "I am convinced that there is a great mission for American Catholicism" in the country.

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Vatican official: Racism is 'spiritual' virus that must be wiped out - Catholic News Service

Are you a good spiritual mother to your children and your loved ones? – Aleteia EN

Spiritual motherhood is first and foremost giving birth to adult life. After giving birth, or taking a child into ones home, that child needs to grow and mature in order to one day spread their wings, they need help to attain the full stature of adulthood. After that its a question of helping a child to realize that for which they were created: to love God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to allow themselves to be loved and transformed by Him, until they become that unique masterpiece God wishes them to be. The spiritual mother helps her child to grow in faith, hope, and charity, through the transmission of the great truths taught by the Church, grounded in the sacramental life and the word of God, explains Father Roger Nicolas.The mother, the primary educator on the spiritual level

Example and witness are worth more than fine words. If faith is vital for the mother, it will be vital for the child, Father Nicolas confirms.

I watched my mother go to Mass every day with such fervor, confides Florence. She didnt need to preach at me to get me to go every Sunday. Her example was enough. But that doesnt exempt a mother from the explicit communication of the faith through words. How many saints, or simple Christians, have not learned the great prayers and truths of Christian life at their mothers knee? Zlie Martin invited her daughters to add pearls to their crowns, that is, by doing good deeds or making little sacrifices for the conversion of a sinner, or to console Jesus.

Florence taught her children to experience the communion of the saints: My 11-year-old daughter suffered a big setback at school. I felt her terrible hurt. But I suggested we offer up her pain together for a Japanese child who had lost everything in a tsunami.

Children must learn how to offer up sorrows as well as joys, agrees Olivia, who never misses a chance to encourage her children to give praise and thanksgiving for all the gifts God gives us, and that we must know how to recognize them.So, being a spiritual mother is to give thanks with ones child and rejoice in their joy. Or to sympathize with their suffering and, together, help them to overcome it. Its taking part in Marys motherhood, singing the Magnificat before Elizabeth, suffering with her Son at the foot of the cross, and offering oneself up along with him to his Father for the salvation of the world, explains Father Nicolas.

Its also about teaching a child to say yes firstly, in little things, through obedience to a teacher and obedience to ones given tasks (like doing ones homework, setting the table), so that one day they may do so in big ones. More broadly, its to teach a child to do the will of God. Its also, as St. Monica did for her son Augustine, offering up her personal prayer for her child. This is the mission of the Mothers Prayer movement, now spread throughout the world.

But a mothers heart is greater than the Jerusalem Temple the spiritual motherhood of a mom goes beyond the circle of her children. It is joined to that of contemplatives and, more widely, to all the baptized, working for the good of ones neighbor, whether that be the next-door neighbor who confides in her or the missionary on the other side of the world whose name or difficulties she doesnt even know.

To be their spiritual mother, explains Father Nicolas, is to bear them in your heart, to entrust them, with all their human and spiritual worries, to the Lord not to ask for any particular blessing, because we cannot know Gods will, but that he carry out his loving plan for them. More widely, it is to offer up and pray for souls. For their salvation and, even better, their sanctification. Bring forth souls for God, the Church tells us. And in that, the mother and the Carmelite are one.

But a moms spiritual motherhood doesnt stop at prayers and offerings; it is experienced through the gift of self, through truly concrete charity, materialized through acts of helping, listening, visiting in short, through loving. For a mother, the closest neighbor is ones spouse, the father of ones children. He too needs the tender, generous, and understanding heart of his spouse.

A mother loves with an indulgent, compassionate heart, at the ready to understand, to console, to forgive, in the image of Mary, remarks Father Nicolas. When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world, St. John tells us (Jn 16:21). Spiritual motherhood is the reflection of motherhood according to the flesh: the cross is mingled with joy. To experience all the fecundity of motherhood, Mary is a precious aid: At one and the same time, she is our model, from the Annunciation to Calvary, and our help, in light as well as in darkness, Father Nicolas concludes.

Elisabeth de Baudoun

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Are you a good spiritual mother to your children and your loved ones? - Aleteia EN

Joan of Arcs spiritual life propelled her to martyrdom – Aleteia IT

While many focus on St. Joan of Arcs brave military campaigns and the unjust trial that led to her death, few recognize that before it all she was a devoted child of God. In fact, it was this deep relationship with Christ that gave her the strength she needed to endure anything.

Pope Benedict XVI explained this side of Joan in a general audience he gave in 2011. He begins by summarizing her holy childhood.

Her parents were well-off peasants, known to all as good Christians. From them she received a sound religious upbringing, considerably influenced by the spirituality of theName of Jesus, taught by St Bernardine of Siena and spread in Europe by the Franciscans.

TheName of Marywas always associated with the Name of Jesus and thus, against the background of popular piety, Joans spirituality was profoundly Christocentric and Marian. From childhood, she showed great love and compassion for the poorest, the sick and all the suffering, in the dramatic context of the war.

This provided Joan with the preparation she needed for what would happen next.

We know from Joans own words that her religious life developed as a mystical experience from the time when she was 13 (PCon, I, p. 47-48). Through the voice of St Michael the Archangel, Joan felt called by the Lord to intensify her Christian life and also to commit herself in the first person to the liberation of her people. Her immediate response, her yes, was her vow of virginity, with a new commitment to sacramental life and to prayer: daily participation in Mass, frequent Confession and Communion and long periods of silent prayer before the Crucified One or the image of Our Lady.The young French peasant girls compassion and dedication in the face of her peoples suffering were intensified by her mystical relationship with God.

What is even more remarkable is how she became an evangelizing force among the French soldiers, encouraging them in the practice of the faith.

For a whole year, Joan lived with the soldiers, carrying out among them a true mission of evangelization. Many of them testified to her goodness, her courage and her extraordinary purity. She was called by all and by herself La pucelle (the Maid), that is, virgin.

Even in the midst of her unjust trial, Joan sought to maintain her love of God, Our Saint lived prayer in the form of a continuous dialogue with the Lord who also illuminated her dialogue with the judges and gave her peace and security. She asked him with trust: Sweetest God, in honour of your holy Passion, I ask you, if you love me, to show me how I must answer these men of the Church (PCon, I,p. 252).

Above all, we should learn from Joan how to be faithful to God in any situation. We cannot rely on our strength, but must rely firmly on God, who will supply us with the courage we need to encounter any obstacle.

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Joan of Arcs spiritual life propelled her to martyrdom - Aleteia IT


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